Singapore — East Coast GRC was one of the wards that were closely watched in the recent General Election.

The Workers’ Party fielded a team that included opposition darling Nicole Seah, while the People’s Action Party’s Heng Swee Keat turned up suddenly at the East Coast Nomination Centre indicating that he would be leading its team there.

With all eyes on what the candidates on both sides were up to on the campaign trail, Ms Seah, 35, paid tribute in a Facebook post to her husband and her mother for letting her focus totally on the election by taking care of her only child.

Ms Seah is no stranger to the frenzy of elections — she drew intense interest when she was fielded as a National Solidarity Party (NSP) candidate in Marine Parade GRC in the 2011 General Election.

The opposition candidate, who was only 24 then, was so popular that she was referred to as a “rock star”, while Mr Goh Chok Tong — the anchor politician for Marine Parade GRC — noticed how Ms Seah was front and centre of the opposition campaign for the five-seat ward. Ms Seah grew so famous that the NSP was even dubbed the “Nicole Seah Party”.

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However, Ms Seah and her team lost to the PAP team with a notable vote share of 43.35 per cent.

Mr Goh Chok Tong, a former Prime Minister, said he had expected better results for the PAP and cited Ms Seah as a factor in the NSP’s good showing at the polls.

Ms Seah resigned from the NSP in 2014. The associate director of a multinational advertising firm began volunteering with the WP in 2015 and became a party member some time ago.

After she was confirmed as being a part of the WP slate of candidates for the 2020 elections, Ms Seah said one of the reasons she returned to politics was for the sake of her two-year-old daughter’s future.

She said:

“To be honest, I’m having a very stable career right now. My personal life is in a very good state, and I do recognise that coming back out would also mean increased scrutiny. But I do it for the party because I believe in the leadership and I believe in the vision.
“And I do it for my daughter because she’s the next generation of Singaporeans and I want to leave behind a legacy for her where she would feel comfortable regardless of her political inclinations or the kinds of views she’s expressing.”

During the campaign, Ms Seah shared more about her family as she published photos taken at her home on social media. She said that  she was able to give 100 per cent of her attention to the electoral contest because of the support of her husband and mother.

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The WP  politician wrote:

“It takes a village, and for that I am so grateful and thankful that my mum and husband have been around to make sure that my girl is well loved and very much taken care of during this busy period. Without their support, I wouldn’t be able to commit 100% to this GE. Love you mommy, love you B and D.”

Ms Seah and the WP team faced an uphill battle in East Coast GRC. The unexpected appearance of Mr Heng on the PAP ticket at the ward was a curveball for the WP team — so much so that Ms Seah said she had to quickly recollect her thoughts and rewrite her nomination speech given the new development.

Although the WP team lost the contest at East Coast GRC, it achieved one of the best scores by an opposition team that failed to win a ward, with 46.61 per cent of the vote. Mr Heng and his four  teammates were narrowly returned to Parliament with 53.39 per cent of the vote. /TISG

Heng Swee Keat sportingly accepts artwork alluding to his “East Coast Plan”

WP set to contest just four GRCs and one SMC in the coming election